Thursday, May 2, 2013

Return Wounded Knee to the Lakota People

Return Wounded Knee, South Dakota, to the Lakota People! Sign this petition to appeal to the Governor of South Dakota, 605-773-3212, and to President Obama,, to collaborate with the Lakota People on regaining the ownership of Wounded Knee and helping them honor this sacred land where 300 of their beloved family members were massacred by the US military in 1890.

Petition Background
Lakota descendents of Wounded Knee should be respected as massacre survivors. Return all of Wounded Knee land to them instead of placing 80 acres of it on public sale beginning May 1st for an unaffordable $4.9 million (worth $14.000) for commercial and tourist development. Call South Dakota Governor, 605-773-3212 to stop this sale for the sake of Wounded Knee descendents. Email President Barack Obama,, to work in collaboration with the Lakota people for a national monument at Wounded Knee, respecting the traditional approach and opinions of the Lakota descendants in honoring their beloved grandfathers, grandmothers and family members decimated and afflicted in the Wounded Knee massacre. Don’t hesitate to give your words, spoken and written, to prevent its commercialization. The public sale has begun. Do something now in support of returning Wounded Knee to the Lakota People!

Go to: to sign petition.

Wounded Knee Historic Site Now for Sale on the Open Market -- ICTMN -- 

Sale of 'Wounded Knee' Massacre Site Extended -- ABC News --

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lakota activists: Buy Wounded Knee, face protests

Nathan Blindman, Oglala Lakota from Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, informed attendants at the 2013 Flint Hills Wisdom Keepers Gathering in Council Grove, Kansas, on April 28th, that Wounded Knee on Lakota land would be put on sale on Wed, May !st, by the non-Indian owner who is selling it for $4.9 million, with the county appraisal at $14,000, with hopes to develop it into a tourist site.  This sacred ground of the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre and further tragic uprising in 1973 needs to be returned to the Lakota people still mourning the loss of their innocent men, women and children massacred by United States military upon their own land.  
Those attending and sponsoring the Flint Hills Wisdom Keepers Gathering, 75 people, wish to go on record in support of the Lakota people regaining their land immediately through a reasonable sale that they can afford or with help from the government that took their land away.  This latest earthshattering news of the fate being thrust upon Wounded Knee on May 1st has been broadcast nationally and internationally (New York Times, the BBC, Al Jazeera, and the Australian Broadcasting Company) in the last few days and needs immediate action from US citizens to respect and uphold the rights of the First Americans on this land.
The afflictions of genocide, manipulation, and neglect must be stopped and reversed for the Lakota people, starting immediately with the return of Wounded Knee! 
Call Governor of South Dakota, Dennis Daugaard, at 605-773-3212, and tell him not to allow commercial selling of Wounded Knee by and to return this burial ground to its rightful owners as anyone would respect the cemetary of their parents and ancestors.  Who would allow the sale of their parents' cemetary to be turned into a tourist site?!!
Give your words, spoken and written, to prevent the commercialization of Wounded Knee, South Dakota.  Do it now.....May 1st is one day away!!  Don't delay and don't give up in support of the Lakota People!

Lakota activists: Buy Wounded Knee, face protests

April 28, 2013 6:30 pm  • 
The potential sale of one of the most historically notorious sites in South Dakota history could come with the state's biggest caveat: buy Wounded Knee and plan to build there, and face the wrath of protesters.  That message is being sent by Native American activists as a Rapid City man prepares to sell a 40-acre parcel at the site of the Wounded Knee massacre.  The property, located in the heart of the Pine Ridge Reservation, is in the vicinity of where 300 Native Americans were killed by the U.S. military on Dec. 29, 1890.
Tensions have been simmering in Indian Country ever since the landowner, James Czywczynski, 75, announced his plan to sell the land two months ago.  Czywczynski offered to sell the parcel, and another in Porcupine Butte, to the Oglala Lakota Nation for $4.9 million dollars.  If they didn't buy before May 1, he warned, he would sell to the highest private bidder.  Tribal officials have consistently scorned the price and deadline, which they view as bordering on extortion.  The properties have a combined value of about $14,000, according to an appraisal by Shannon County.
Now, with the May 1 deadline only days away and no tribal deal in sight, some Lakota are offering their own warning to Czywczynski: "This is our backyard; this is our homeland," said Garfield Steele, a tribal representative. "This has historical value for our people, not to any non-Indian. We will fight to keep it, as is, by all means.  "Steele said that opposition could include protests to stop the land from being converted into a tourist attraction.  Many Lakota oppose commercial development because they see it as an exploitation of a tragedy.
Protests promised
The land is currently desolate prairie, but it formerly hosted a trading post and several houses owned by Czywczynski before they were burned down during a protest by Native Americans in 1973.  Don Cuny, 61, a member of the American Indian Movement and a protester in 1973, pledged to stage a sit-in if the land was developed. "I'm totally against it," he said.  "And I know I'm not the only one."
Czywczynski's offer, and the controversy surrounding it, has attracted national and international attention.  Over the past month, he has conducted interviews with the New York Times, the BBC, Al Jazeera, and the Australian Broadcasting Company.  Asked on Friday whether he was concerned about protests, Czywczynski was nonchalant.  "Let them protest," he said Friday. "I don't care."
Czywczynski reiterated that he believed the tribe had ample money to meet his $4.9 million list price.  He said that the price was fair given the potential for the tribe to convert it into a commercial venture.  Before his trading post was burned down in 1973, he said, it was a profitable endeavor that attracted busloads of tourists each week.  "They just wanted to see Indian land, the mass grave, they wanted to buy arts and crafts," he said.  "A lot of people are just interested in Indians and Indian culture."
Czywczynski said he has been contacted by five parties who want to purchase his parcel:  Two California investment groups, an overseas investor, an American who offered $1 million in cash, and a group in Wall that wants to raise grant money to buy the land and gift it to the Lakota.  Czywczynski said he told each party that he won't consider any offers until after May 1. He also said he would only sell the Wounded Knee parcel and the other parcel, located at Porcupine Butte, as a package deal and for no less than $4.9 million.
Legal action possible?
Beyond protests, some Lakota hope to stop the sale by different means.
Nathan Blindman, a descendant of one of the survivors of the 1890 massacre, wants to take it to the courts.  Blindman said the Bureau of Indian Affairs made a mistake when it approved the original sale of land from its Lakota owners to a non-native couple in 1930. That couple, the Gildersleeve family, sold the property to Czywczynski in 1968.  The agency is required to approve sales of Indian land to private buyers.
Blindman, pointing to documents from the 1930 sale, said that the agency neglected to consider the property's historical value and didn't consult tribal leaders.  "It's always been suspicious how part of the Wounded Knee Massacre site fell into the hands of non-Indians," he said. "That's always been a question."  He said the federal government should step in to return the land to the Lakota.
But Frank Pommersheim, a law professor at the University of South Dakota, said the courts are unlikely to be convinced by that argument.  Pommersheim said if the Bureau of Indian Affairs incorrectly appraised the value of the property in 1930, it was likely that too much time had passed to challenge it under the statute of limitations.  "Even assuming that to be true, it's difficult to know what could be done in the year 2013," he said.
Cris Stainbrook, president of the Indian Land Tenure Foundation, based in Minnesota, also believes that Blindman's legal challenge would be a long shot.  However, he said he believes the commercial potential of the property has been heavily over-hyped. He doubts that Czywczynski will ever get the $4.9 million he is seeking.  "He's done everything he can to pitch the thing and keep the media hype up," he said. "Don't get me wrong, Wounded Knee is an important site for Lakota people, at the same time, lets get real, it's not as though this is a developable property in any significant way."
Fears were high that a buyer would convert the land into a casino or hotel. But Stainbrook said, given the site's proximity to a mass burial, he just couldn't see it.  "If someone's going to make a Disneyland type of attraction, what's the theme going to be?" he said. "I'm trying to envision who would be so crass to make much of a tourist attraction."

Friday, April 19, 2013

Last chance to register without surcharge!

Today is the last day to register for the Flint Hills Wisdom Keepers Gathering without a 10% registration surcharge. If you have been inclined to register but "not just yet", this is the time to make it happen! If at all interested, call our registrar, Diane Barker, 785-539-9163 or email Register online at: This will be a great Gathering of American Indian Elders from across the country sharing their traditional ways and teaching us about preserving and honoring our Mother Earth.